Scattered voices: Anthonis de Roovere and other reporters of the wedding of Charles the Bold and Margaret of York

Charles the Bold, duke of Burgundy, here around 1460 as Count of Charolais

Both sources are of great value for those who study the Bruges wedding, with the impact it had on its contemporaries, and the way in which our present-day picture of it came about.

The Isabella Breviary

Moleiro_article1 (2)

Within its pages lie some of the finest illuminations ever painted during the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance.

10 Creepy Things to See at the Louvre That Are Better Than the Mona Lisa

Catherine de Medici - Louvre

If you’re an ancient historian, a medievalist, or early modernist, there are so many other amazing pieces and works of art a the Louvre other than these two tourist staples. Here is my list of cool, creepy, unusual and better than the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris.

Owain Glyndwr and the siege of Coity Castle, 1404-1405

coity castle - photo by Ben Salter / Flickr

The siege of Coity was indeed significant for its length and its importance, and it was indeed historic, because it is the most famous event associated with the castle in the entire 900 years of its existence. Yet we know very little about the siege and the circumstances surrounding it, even though it lasted for a good part of two years

Charlotte of Savoy, Queen of France

Charlotte-de-Savoie

Charlotte of Savoy, Queen of France By Susan Abernethy Charlotte of Savoy came from a large family and was married at the tender age of nine under difficult circumstances. Her husband, the Dauphin Louis of France was twenty-eight at the time of the wedding and they would not consummate the marriage until Charlotte was sixteen. […]

Witchcraft Trials In Sweden: With Neighbours Like These, Who Needs Enemies?!

Olaus-Magnus - depiction of a witch 16th c.

Everyone has “that” neighbour on their floor, or street who they’d secretly love to move to Mars and never see again. Well, the Early Modern Swedes had a way of dealing with those kinds of nasty neighbours…

The Impalings of Vlad the Impaler

Impalings of Vlad the Impaler

One of the most infamous chararacters from the Middle Ages was Vlad III Dracula, the prince of Wallachia. Here is the story of how he gained the name of ‘the Impaler’.

Move over Milan! Late Medieval and Renaissance Fashion in Venice

Cesare Vecellio's Venetian fashion

Milan may be Italy’s current fashion capital, but Venice had an important role to play in the development of the Italian fashion and textile industry since the late middle ages and renaissance period.

The Foxes of Venice

Venice in 1565 - Venice, engraving by Hogenberg and Braun from the Civitates Orbis Terrarum

This paper will focus on the process that led to the professionalization of ambassadorial relations and dispatches as a means to display the shift in the Venetian Senate’s political priorities, as it necessitated and enforced a constant and regular influx of foreign knowledge.

How Witches Looked in Medieval Art

Hans Baldung - The Witches Sabbath (1510 AD)

I recently visited the British Museum and enjoyed their Witches and Wicked Bodies exhibit which runs until January 11th, 2015. It displays art depicting witches from the middle ages up to the late nineteenth century. This post looks at a few late medieval interpretations of witches and the artists behind these works.

‘Forget Your People and Your Father’s House’: Teresa de Cartagena and the Converso Identity

Teresa de Cartagena

Religion is a very important factor to take into consideration in discussions about the identity of the conversos [converts] or New Christians, an emerging group in 15th-century Castile.

The Sincere Body: The Performance of Weeping and Emotion in Late Medieval Italian Sermons

The Magdalen Weeping - by Master of the Legend of the Magdalen, dated 1525.

In 1493 the well-known and controversial Franciscan preacher Bernardino of Feltre gave a series of Lenten sermons to the people of Pavia. On March 11 he dedicated an entire sermon to the necessity of contrition—or perfect sorrow over sin—in the rite of confession.

Besteiros Do Conto (Crossbowmen): Organization, abuses of power and irregularities during the reign of Dom João I (1385-1433)

Besteiros Do Conto (Crossbowmen/archers)

The aim of this paper is to examine an aspect of social life linked to one of the most important and original forms of military organization in the whole of Portuguese history—the besteiros do conto (crossbowmen).

Renaissance Contacts Between Dubrovnik (Ragusa) and the Kingdom of Hungary

Coat of Arms of King Louis I of Hungary - a talisman of good luck.

During the rule of the Angevin dynasty (1308-82) in Hungary, towns and cities increasingly assumed greater political influence. The first treaty between the King of Hungary and Dubrovnik (in those days Ragusa) was signed in 1358, during the reign of Louis (Lajos) the Great.

Emperor Zar’a Ya’eqob (1434-68) And The Christianization Of Medieval Ethiopia

Virgin Mary Ethiopia - photo by A. Davey

One of the most important figures in Ethiopian Christianity was the 15th century Emperor Zar’a Ya’eqob.

Skirts and Politics: The Cistercian Monastery of Harvestehude and the Hamburg City Council

Medieval nun with skirt lifted

In 1482, Catharina Arndes lifted up her skirts in front of the archbishop’s chaplain. She was a respectable townswoman from Hamburg, and her action was carried out in defense of the Cistercian monastery of Harvestehude which was close to the city and where several of Catharina’s nieces lived as nuns.

Women do not sit as Judges, or do they? The office of Judge in Vincentius Bellovacensis’ Speculum

Vincent of Beauvais (Vincentius Bellovacensis)

It was Charles Homer Haskins (1870-1936) who coined the expression “Renaissance of the twelfth century”. Before him this expression referred more specifically to the Italian Renaissance of the fifteenth century as nineteenth century Swiss historian Jakob Burckhardt put it.

Feminine Love in the Twelfth Century – A Case Study: The Mulier in the Lost Love Letters and the Work of Female Mystics

Heloise and Abelard - painting created in 1819

This article compares the twelfth-century writings of the secular mulier in the Lost Love Letters with the work of religious female ‘mystics’ to draw comparisons about the way these authors chose to express love.

Flee the loathsome shadow: Marsilio Ficino (1433-99) and the Medici in Florence

Marsilio Ficino - (c) Walker Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

This article examines the changing political landscape of Medicean Florence, from Cosimo de’ Medici (1389-1464) to his grandson Lorenzo the Magnificent (1449-1492), through the letters of the celebrated neo-Platonist philosopher Marsilio Ficino (1433-99).

King’s sister, queen of dissent: Marguerite of Navarre (1492-1549) and her evangelical network

Marguerite de Navarre - Statue of Marguerite of Angoulême, in the gardens of the city hall of Angoulême

This study reconstructs the previously unknown history of the most important dissident group within France before the French Reformed Church formed during the 1550s.

Of sagas and sheep: Toward a historical anthropology of social change and production for market, subsistence and tribute in early Iceland

Medieval hunt - images of sheep

This dissertation deals with the formation of chiefdoms, communities, ecclesiastical institutions and state, and with production for market, subsistence and tribute in early Iceland in the context of climatic change and ecological succession.

Constructing social identity in Renaissance Florence: Botticelli’s ‘Portrait of a Lady’

Portrait of a Lady known as Smeralda Brandini (1471) by Botticelli

This study scrutinizes a work within a neglected portion of Botticelli’s oeuvre, examining the ways in which its modest, and somewhat ambiguous, visual cues also construct its sitter’s elevated social identity, while simultaneously protecting it.

The Perils of Polygamy in 15th century Cairo

arabic woman

Under medieval Islamic law, a man could marry up to four women. However, if accounts from 15th century Egypt are indicative, it would be rare for such an arrangement to work out for all parties.

Conflicting expectations: Parish priests in late medieval Germany

Medieval priest giving confession

The study investigates the expectations various groups in late medieval German society held of their parish priests and how these expectations were mediated through specific relationships.

Crafting the witch: Gendering magic in medieval and early modern England

The Devil and witches

This project documents and analyzes the gendered transformation of magical figures occurring in Arthurian romance in England from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries.

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